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In Praise of Open Communion:
A Rejoinder to James Farwell

Kathryn Tanner


This essay engages in an extended dialogue with James Farwell's Spring 2004 ATR article, "Baptism, Eucharist, and the Hospitality of Jesus: On the Practice of 'Open Communion,'" rebutting many of his arguments against open communion and suggesting a number of theological considerations that might lend support to the practice of inviting unbaptized persons to take communion. The logic of the relationship between baptism and eucharist is discussed in light of the reference of both to the kingdom, and tied to the various forms of Jesus' meal ministry in the gospels. The essay also speculates about what in the present context of Episcopal church life might be driving the trend toward open communion. Finally, there is a review of factors to be taken into account in deciding whether the consequences of open communion for Christian life are acceptable.

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